Oklahoma Sooners sophomore forward Ryan Spangler has added a physical dimension to the Sooners that was left vacant by Blake Griffin in 2009. Spangler, also a native son of Oklahoma, did not begin his career as a Sooner. Before the prodigal son returned to Norman, Spangler began his career with the Gonzaga Bulldogs in 2011. Spangler transferred to Oklahoma after one season with Gonzaga. He sat out last season.
Spangler made a big splash in his debut at Oklahoma, winning the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week award. In his first two games, Spangler has averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds. On Wednesday night, he would square off against one of the best post players in the Western Athletic Conference — senior forward Stephen Madison.
Madison was a one-man wreaking crew in his Idaho Vandals season debut, scoring 21 points and gobbling up 14 rebounds. Madison represents one outlier in a Vandal roster with ten newcomers. Despite guard Connor Hill returning, the Sooners were heavy favorites heading into the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
The Oklahoma Sooners have been dynamite at home against non-conference opponents; 96 wins in their last 99 contests heading into the match up against Idaho. The Vandals game out of the gate strong, but mid-half adjustment by Lon Kruger tipped the scales in the Sooner’s favor. The 1-2-2 full court pressure after a made bucket limited the Vandals to a mere 15 points in a 15-minute span.
An 11-point half-time lead for the Sooners ballooned into a 20-point rout. Idaho, a team that relies heavily on Madison for their offensive production, was unable to get anything going. Spangler let a swat team of Sooners in the paint that forced the Vandals to jack up low percentage shots outside the key. The Sooners had 8 blocks on the night, three coming from Spangler.
His presence at the rim forced Madison to be out of his comfort zone throughout the contest. A 3-11 shooting night for Madison, including 0-4 from three-point zone, kept the Vandals from doing anything offensively. Madison’s seven points and seven rebounds are well below his usual output.
The Sooner’s 85-65 victory Wednesday nightcaps a successful six day span for the team. Over that six-day span, Spangler’s Sooners picked up three impressive contests. Oklahoma will enjoy the next nine days off before heading on the road to face Seton Hall.